Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Oct 01, 2018

Vietnam proud of its distinctive cuisine


Here’s some food pho thought from Vietnamese tourism officials – the country’s a major culinary centre.
A Vietnamese tourism delegation visited Toronto recently, promoting the attributes of the southeast Asian country, which includes a food scene that drew international attention when the late food enthusiast Anthony Bourdain and former U.S. president Barack Obama had lunch together in modest but popular Hanoi restaurant Bun Cha, which serves the likes of pho, a hugely popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine.
“There are many small restaurants in Hanoi,” said Sy Dung Tran of HanoiTourist Corporation.
His colleague Hoa Thi Le added visitors will easily be able to find restaurants serving good meals that cost the equivalent of $2 to $3.
“The food is very delicious,” added Alyssa Thuy Le of Altour Indochina Travel & Leisure, who adds that Vietnamese food is distinctive from other dishes in the region.
Thuy Le said Vietnamese tend to be slim, an indication that Vietnamese eat fresh, healthy food.
Westerners who like to eat food they’re familiar with while travelling will be able to find it in Hanoi, which includes the likes of McDonald’s and KFC among its eating options.
Lloyd Coleman of Minh Travel & Tour – Canadian GSA for Vietnam Airlines – in turn told the Toronto audience that Vietnam is the “kitchen of the world.”
In fact, CNN has declared the city one of the top 50 food centres.
But tourism officials added that the country has numerous other attractions for visitors, with Coleman noting that Vietnam has “more than 4,000 years of history” and a lengthy coast “gifted with so many of the most beautiful beaches in the world.”
Vietnam Airlines – a Skytrax four-star carrier – plans to begin Vancouver service within the next two years.
Airlines now serving Hanoi include Japan Airlines, British Airways, and Air France. SkyTeam member Vietnam Airlines counts Air Canada, Etihad, Garuda and Cathay Pacific among its interline partners.
Van Nguyen, chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said tourism to his homeland is soaring. Vietnam saw a million visitors in 1990. Last year, over 13 million visited the country.
Linh Le of Hanoi-based Asia DMC in turn said that those involved in Vietnamese tourism see Canada as an “amazing market with a lot of potential.”
Around 138,000 Canadians visited Vietnam in 2017 and tourism authorities hope 400,000 of us will visit in 2020.
Meanwhile, Rajat Chhabra, general manager of the Radisson Suites Hotel Toronto Airport, who earlier worked as a hotelier in Vietnam, praised “beautiful” Vietnam’s hotel infrastructure, saying five-star hotels with excellent service are available.
“It’s absolutely a magical country,” Chhabra continued. “I would go back to Vietnam in a snap.”
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